L2R Board Members
Jacinda Richards- Founder & CEO
Jacinda Richards is a professional dancer, choreographer and community arts practitioner. Jacinda’s professional dance practice spans many genres including, jazz, ballet, hip hop, contemporary, Latin and West African styles. Jacinda has had the opportunity to work as a dancer and choreographer both in Australia and internationally, including performances and workshops in remote Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley’s, Ghana and Korea. Since 2009, Jacinda has worked as the Community Development Officer at Western English Language School (WELS) in both the Braybrook and Wyndham campuses. WELS is a school for newly arrived, migrant and refugee children that focuses on developing language and literacy skills before students enter mainstream schooling in surrounding Western suburbs. WELS opened Jacinda’s eyes to the need for specialised programs for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), migrant and refugee youth facilitated by experienced community arts practitioners. It was from here Jacinda gained the impetus to develop and establish L2R in 2009. Jacinda had a dream to create a safe and nurturing space where young people from diverse backgrounds could come together and share in the common passion for dance. Over time bonds and relationships form, creating a basis for increased social connections, confidence and self-esteem. This simple initiative was the seed for L2R. Jacinda is certain that a major part of L2R’s successful program development and delivery lies within the mutual level of respect and understanding between community arts practitioners and young crew members. This is commitment to mutual learning not only by Jacinda, but also by participating L2R members, giving ownership and responsibility to all involved. In January 2018, Jacinda was awarded the Brimbank Australian Day award – Educator of the Year! Jacinda believes there is one language we can all speak… DANCE!
Carol Ross – Chair
Carol has had a diverse career spanning nearly 30 years – starting as an Engineer in the US, completing an MBA at Wharton, transitioning to consulting at a top tier global firm and moving to Australia, running a not for profit, providing L&D training across AP and currently Asia Pacific HR Director for the Boston Consulting Group. In addition, Carol has been involved in community and arts organisations serving as Treasurer of a local Kinder and on the board of KAGE Dance Theatre, a successful Victorian based dance company. Carol has always had an underlying passion for dance in all its forms having danced for Storm Dance Theatre nearly 20 years ago and most recently learning some basic hip hop which she finds incredibly fun but also quite challenging! Carol is inspired by L2R’s vision and the magical possibilities of using dance as a platform for connecting and engaging with young people.
Kirsty Hooper – Secretary
Kirsty is an active, community minded mother of three small children who lives in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne and works at the University of Melbourne in Parkville. Kirsty is currently the Alumni Relations Manager for the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. Since graduating from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science, Kirsty has spent a large part of her career developing and leading projects and programs to engage communities, be it through the arts, science or academia. It is her love of grassroots community activities that has led her to become involved in the incredible work of L2R. Communities, in particular emerging communities, need organisations like L2R to enrich, encourage and help translate their often complex and largely underrepresented needs.Kirsty is proud to be part of the L2R family!
For Angela, dance is neutral territory which everyone should have opportunity to experience in whatever way, shape or form. The work that L2R do to bridge communities in the West absolutely resonates with Angela’s passion. Angela has a Post Graduate Diploma in Classical ballet teaching from the Victorian College of Arts. She also has an Accounting degree from RMIT and is a chartered accountant, with a Public Practice membership with Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand (CA ANZ). Angela is a mother of three and currently a Director at the professional services firm, Ernst & Young, where she works with multinational organisations who second employees across the globe, supporting the tax, finance and HR functions. She has also run her own dance school in Seddon and has served on the Board of Directors for the Australia Teachers of Dancing Limited. Angela is thrilled to be part of the dynamic L2R team.
Rebecca Thomas – General committee member
Rebecca Thomas is a local resident who has a strong passion for social justice. Rebecca works as a Family Lawyer, having being admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Victoria and High Court of Australia in 2010. Rebecca is heavily involved in children’s family law matters and understands the importance of ensuring the best interests of children are met. Rebecca believes that L2R’s hard work and programs allow children opportunities to make friendships, feel like part of a community and have an outlet that is both healthy and exciting. These things in turn can contribute in a profound way to a child’s sense of happiness and security. Rebecca has been a huge fan of L2R’s for over 6 years now, playing a pivotal role in the DGR application process.
Robyn Gawenda- General committee member
Robyn is currently the General Manager of Footscray Community Arts Centre, a community-engaged, contemporary arts centre working with local, regional and international communities. Robyn’s career in the arts has been driven by her unassailable belief in the power it has to change lives and build cohesive, engaged and harmonious communities. A passionate arts manager, Robyn has experience delivering projects in the the not-for-profit and government sectors. Robyn was a Project Officer at Multicultural Arts Victoria before joining Creative Victoria in 2016, where she was responsible for supporting the delivery of arts and music grants programs, later stepping into the role of Departmental Liaison Officer for the Minister for Creative Industries and Equality in the Victorian State Government. As the Creative Industries and Equality Departmental Liaison Officer, Robyn established effective relationships between Creative Victoria, the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Ministerial Office, facilitating the approval of policies related to the Creative State strategy and Equality policy agenda. Robyn holds a Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) from the University of Western Australia and a Masters of Arts Management from RMIT
Simon De Lacy-leacy – General committee member
Simon is a hands on creative producer (Learning and Development) at Footscray Community Arts Centre where he manages arts and learning workshops for everyone from infants to seniors. After a long stint of living and travelling around this small world he moved to
Melbourne in 2012 and joined youth focused design social enterprise Blue SKYS Media.
During his travels he volunteered at Mirror Arts Foundation in Thailand and Fairtrade Foundation UK in Malawi, he also worked in London at the British Red Cross, where he helped embed a range of learning organisation initiatives.Simon has facilitated and managed creative arts programs with leading social enterprise SpeakOut Ltd (now Human Ventures) in Brisbane. This experience aligned with his passion in using strong process driven by arts and cultural opportunities to improve young people’s self-esteem and confidence. Simon completed his Bachelor of Business – major Communication in 2000 at Queensland University of Technology. Simon is now kept on his toes as father to two bouncing under three year olds!
Mary Quinsacara – General committee member
Mary Quinsacara has over 10 years experience at the intersection of arts and health utilising
her love and practice of hip-hop culture to connect and work for social change alongside diaspora and First Nations communities. Born in Chile and raised in Naarm (Melbourne) and working on Wurundjeri country Mary lives on the west-side enjoying long standing relationships with communities in and around Footscray to Kings Park. Currently studying a Graduate Certificate in Education at VU Mary has a growing interest in the role of community based education for young people of colour. Particularly how it can contribute to young people’s capacity to confidently navigate and influence different spaces and contexts so that they may live to their full potential, with the support of a community that holds, respects and reflects them.